God has a great purpose for every pain and affliction you must endure. He brings hardships and struggles to move you out of a place of contentment or comfort for a purpose. He will wake you out of your slumber, stand you up on your feet, and get you moving. His will is to bring you to a new place of growth and maturity.
Where there is growth, there will be much pain; where there is pain, you will learn lessons. Afterward, you will look back and be grateful for the struggle, the trial, and the lessons learned. Self-improvement is not just a manmade idea to inspire you to move forward. God is the one who thought of it first. He pushes you out of stagnation to make you stronger and bold for the work He has planned for your life.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25
Also consider this, the greater the pain and affliction that a servant of the Lord goes through and the longer the difficulties last. Yet, the harder the difficulties, the greater the purpose and reward God has waiting for you in the end. So keep that in mind when it seems the struggles never end. One day, the fruits of your labor will be so sweet you will rejoice with all faithful and well-rewarded in Heaven.
But remember, nothing of great value ever gets accomplished without hard work. The couch potatoes will never achieve much success, let alone fulfill the will of God in their life. So you must get up and work with what He has given you. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” as they say, and the rewards God has planned for you will take your time to win.
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:2-4
He has a plan and destination for your life all laid out. But it takes hard work. It will not come easily. Ask the Apostle Paul; he endured hardships, persecutions, beatings, lack, and even imprisonment. But he got back up and continued working for God’s kingdom. So be like him and fix your sights on Jesus. Put your faith in His plan, and get working accordingly. The hardships you must endure in your past will help you lift up those who thought they were left behind.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
To follow Jesus is no Sunday drive but a difficult and rough road, full of detours you never intend to take. Potholes that will try to kick you to the curb. If this is true for you and you desire to focus on Jesus, you are on the right road. Work hard for Him, and He will exchange every tear for joy someday.
Keep laying everything down at the feet of Jesus to follow Him and never stop trusting Him by faith. Though you may not have anything to hold onto, He is holding you and will carry you through. Remember, God favors those who follow Him by faith and work hard toward the goal He has set for them. So work heartily for the Lord in all you do.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18